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The power of music: 4 ways it can benefit your health

 

Over the years, music-based strategies have been investigated for everything from hospital stays, to walking, to sleep, yielding positive results in each of these areas. Given the deep connection that most of us have with music, it should come as no surprise that researchers around the world continue to investigate music's therapeutic benefits. Music is a safe, simple, and inexpensive strategy to support health and wellbeing. Whether for yourself, or a loved one, consider incorporating more music into your everyday life and enjoy the benefits it may provide.

 

Music may improve cognitive functioning

Research has shown that active music-making therapy may improve cognitive functioning by a small but important amount in older adults with cognitive impairment or mild to moderate dementia. Seek out music-based programming delivered by a professional and that emphasizes activities that actively engage participants in music-making.  

 

Music can improve walking speed

Walking speed and “gait” (the pattern and manner of walking) are important indicators to gauge your overall health. Whether you realize it or not, you may be training yourself for a longer, healthier, and more active lifestyle by listening to music while you walk.

 

Music can help ease your hospital stay

Despite remarkable medical advancements surgery can be scary and time spent in hospital will likely be challenging. Music therapy is a safe, non-invasive, and inexpensive complement to treatment and can help to lower anxiety and pain for patients and may also ease depression and fatigue.

 

Music can improve overall behavioural issues in people with dementia

Studies have shown that listening to music allows older adults with dementia to be calmer, which indirectly helps to reduce caregivers’ levels of stress. Also, group music therapy sessions led by a trained music therapist helped reduce caregivers’ anxiety by allowing them to express and share their feelings.

 

To read more about music’s benefits in each of these areas, see our featured resources below.


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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.

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